Guardian Letters: Family support at risk from children’s bill



Child protection

Family support at risk from children’s bill

‘We seem to be alone in objecting to the bill promoting adoption as the “gold standard”, and to resources going to “corporate parenting” while impoverished families get nothing,’ write a group of women activists.
Photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire
Letters, Tuesday 25 October 2016

The national child abuse inquiry was set up in response to a massive survivors’ movement to examine how and why local authorities and others failed to protect children.

Even before it started, the government wanted to exempt these institutions from public scrutiny. The children and social work bill would enable local authorities to remove statutory protections from the most vulnerable – children in custody and in care (Social workers row over children’s bill, 19 October). Given the history, this amounts to a rapists’ charter.

Privatisation passes for innovation. Isabelle Trowler, chief social worker for children and families and chief promoter of the bill, co-founded Morning Lane, a private company working with 25 local authorities. KPMG, which partners Morning Lane, has been awarded a £2m government contract. When questioned, Trowler dismissed it as “peanuts”. But the children’s social work budget is estimated at £6.5bn, and Credit Suisse and others are behind private companies like Frontline, which are already training social workers.

We share the horror of whistleblowers and Together for Children that child protection services may be privatised. But we seem to be alone in objecting to the bill promoting adoption as the “gold standard” and to resources going to “corporate parenting” while impoverished families get nothing.

There isn’t even a duty to consult children and their mothers about their feelings and wishes. The life-long trauma of separation, however hidden, to children and biological families, is hardly mentioned. Britain already has the highest adoption rate in Europe – 90% without the consent of the birth families.

We hold monthly self-help meetings with mothers struggling to keep their children from social workers instructed to prioritise adoption and foster care. Some mothers lose their children after reporting domestic violence – penalised for “failing to protect” them.

Others are young, scared and inexperienced – penalised for “failing to convince” that they could be “capable” parents while a wealthier family waits to take their child. All are low-income families, many with precarious housing, learning difficulties or a disability, many black or immigrant. The incentives to discriminate will vastly increase with privatisation.

Cristel Amiss Black Women’s Rape Action Project
Anne Neale Legal Action for Women
Lisa Longstaff Women Against Rape
Nina Lopez Global Women’s Strike
Kim Sparrow Single Mothers’ Self-Defence


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